Travel Guide to Padre Burgos, Quezon Province, Philippines
Often overlooked in favor of its neighboring municipality of Pagbilao, Padre Burgos is where one can visit the popular stretch of beach called Borawan. Known among backpackers as it is a leading choice for beach camping trips, but unbeknownst to many, this small charming town hides other wonderful nature gems ranging from the sea to mountain summits.
To know more about the other travel destinations in Padre Burgos, here is a handy travel guide you can bookmark for your future trip planning to this lovely municipality.
How to Get to Padre Burgos
By Public Transport
Take a Lucena-bound bus from Manila. After arriving in Lucena, take a bus going to Unsan. Tell the conductor to drop you off at the town proper of Padre Burgos. From there, you can take a tricycle going to Port Laguimanok to start your beach-hopping tour.
Note: Most travelers take the Jac Bus Liner buses from Manila to Lucena.
Travel time from Manila: 3 hours
What’s in a Name: Padre Burgos
According to town historian Ryan Panganiban, the former name of Padre Burgos was “Laguimanoc”—a reference to the coastline’s shape that resembles a chicken or a ‘manok.’
Another version of the origin of its former name is that hawks (‘lawin’) used to fly around the area to snatch young chickens. Therefore, locals would warn other locals to raise chickens whenever hawks would appear by yelling “Lawin-Manok.”
A decade after Padre Burgos became a municipality on January 1, 1917, the town council changed its name to Padre Burgos in honor of Fr. Jose P. Burgos (one-third of the martyred Gomburza priests).
“We don’t know yet the decision to name our town after Padre Burgos since he was from Ilocos Sur, and we don’t have much record of his connection to our town,” Panganiban told us. “My guess is because during the time of the Americans, displaying Philippine flags are prohibited. So, as an act of defiance and to show patriotism, a lot of towns were named after Philippine heroes,” he adds.
Places to See in Padre Burgos
The name Borawan Island was coined after locals likened its white sands to Boracay and its rick formations to those of El Nido in Palawan. The comparison is exaggerated, but still, the island, especially with its circling stretch of shoreline, is a wonderful place to just chill and unwind from the anxieties of the real world. No wonder on the day we visited, we found tents being pitched on the other side of the island. “Don’t worry, we’re setting up each tent away from each other. There’s still social distancing even with tents”, a local guide told us.
The island’s carrying capacity has been lessened since the pandemic. Visitors are required to reserve a slot online, and at the time of our visit, Covid rapid tests are required. I just hope that even after we beat the pandemic, the LGU will still maintain the lower human capacity on any given day.
A sense of quietness spreads over 700 meters of shoreline in Mangayao. This quiet camping spot leads to a mangrove and migratory bird observation area and view deck where one can also spot several migrant bird species.
St. Rita de Cascia Parish Church
The old parochial church of the town was also built on top of a hill more than a century ago (on the other side of the town). When Padre Burgos celebrated its 100th founding anniversary in 2017—following a tradition of building a new parochial every 100 years—they opted to construct the new Sta. Rita Cascia Parish Church atop this hill. My favorite part of the church is its mountain-range facing balcony that summons a perfect meditative vibe.
Located inside a 10-hectare farm owned by a former OFW couple who spent three decades in Libya. The farm itself is a good picnic destination but cap it off with a dip on the soothing waters of Hinguiwin Falls, which would make your pit stop here more memorable.
San Vicente Beach
Almost bare-looking and inhabited only by a small community relying on fishing, its long stretch of shoreline screams of solitude bliss with nature. Pitching a tent under one of the trees and facing the calm waters should gift you with a Zen-kind of escape.
Next to Borawan, Dampalitan Island is another favorite beach camping site thanks to the rows of pine trees lined up parallel to its shores facing the turquoise waters of Tayabas Bay. This beach used to get crowded during the pre-pandemic place.
Nowadays, tents and campers are properly distanced from each other, thus giving you more space to frolic and relax with nature. I hope they keep up with this current setup to preserve the beauty of the place longer.
Simply referred to as the ‘Burol’ or a hill, this spot is perfect for waiting for the sunset while sitting or lying over a patch of grass accompanied by a few friendly cows. From here, you can see the magnificent view of Tayabas Bay, Pagbilao, and Borawan. You can also catch a sight of a cemetery situated on the opposite hill facing the sea. It is interesting to note that the location of the cemetery plays into an old age belief that when a person dies, their soul must cross the ocean to the other side.
What to Buy in Padre Burgos
Woven Buri Weaving
Here in Padre Burgos, Quezon, a very interesting local product is the woven fans made of the Raffia fiber sourced from the Buri Palm (same family as the Anahaw palm). Its circular shape and popping colors are a welcome variation from the classic and typical heart-shaped Filipino pamaypay we’re accustomed to. These are made by the Kinagunan-Ibaba Women’s Association (KIWA) members in Brgy kinagunan-ibaba, Padre Burgos, Quezon.
Yakap Halik Cooperative Food Products
This cooperative group was founded by members of the Samahan ng Tatlong Persona Solo Dios church produces copra and other plant-based food products such as Ginger Brew, Coconut, and Malunggay Soy Sauce and Catsup, Coconut Vinegar, Coconut Jam and Honey. Their cooperative store is located near their church in Brgy. Walay, Padre Burgos, Quezon.
Where to Stay in Padre Burgos
Other than pitching a tent on the camping grounds of the beaches of Borawan and Dampalitan, here are other accommodation choices in Padre Burgos.
Tamarind Tree Resort
This is the most upscale resort in Padre Burgos and is located on the mainland near Laguimanok Port. Tamarind Tree Resort offers private cottages and huts with overnight prices ranging from 600 pesos to 1,400 pesos.
This small inn located just a few steps from Port Laguimanok is a solid choice of accommodation in Padre Burgos. It has 4 spacious rooms with double-deck beds good for 6-8 people each—making it a perfect option for group travelers who wanted to explore Padre Burgos both by land and sea. Downstairs is a small eatery that serves sumptuous meals.
Borawan Island Resort
This lone resort in Borawan Beach is situated in Station 3, fronting a long stretch of white sand beach, and is separated by limestone formations from the main camping area of the island. It offers a/c room accommodations good for 4-5 people and a restaurant where you can order fresh seafood. Activities here include swimming, kayaking, beach volleyball, and chilling.
Island Fees and Boat Ride Cost
- Borawan Beach = 800 pesos for a boat with an 8-person capacity
- Island Hopping (Borawan, Dampalitan, Mangroves + Puting Buhangin) = 1,800-2,000 pesos for 8-10 passengers
- Borawan Beach Entrance Fee = 80 pesos
- Tent Rental Fee: 500 Pesos
- Tent Pitching Fee: 250 Pesos
- Cottage Rental: 800-1,000 Pesos